Saturday, January 31, 2009
That's what happens when I haven't read a good book in months.
Since I'm too busy devouring an amazing book called Bel Canto, I don't have a darn thing to blog about. So, since Jill asked, I will tell you about my children's Hawaiian names.
First, did you know that The Maestro is part Hawaiian? I know. He doesn't really look it. Maybe if you look closely at his nose you could tell. He got the European genes, but some of his siblings most definitely have the island genes. See? (They are in birth order with mom and dad in the middle--The Maestro is #7 of 9)
Anyway, I digress. Since our children have at least 1/8 of Hawaiian blood in them, we wanted to make sure they also had a name to go with it, especially since they don't really look it. So they have their first names, a middle name given after a family member (Bria and Chloe are named after my mom and Joel's mom respectively while Sophia has my grandmother's maiden name for a middle name) and then a second middle name in Hawaiian. I realize that they will have five names and possibly twenty syllables by the time they get married, but hey? Who cares? I don't go around using all my names too much and it seems the schools only accept one middle name anyway (which actually bothers both of my school girls immensely since their special Hawaiian names are always missing on report cards and such).
I'm still digressing aren't I?
But I still have just one more tiny digression. When we were choosing their Hawaiian names, it mattered very much to Joel how they sounded and it mattered very much to me what they actually meant.
Okay, so here it is.
Bria's Hawaiian name is Pukalani. It means Doorway to Heaven.
Chloe's is La'akea. It means Sacred Light.
Sophia's is Na'auali'i and it means Chiefly Heart (i.e. kind, thoughtful, forgiving).
And there you have it. I'm just sad I don't have one of my own. Except maybe Lalakme. Whatever that means in Hawaiian.
Friday, January 30, 2009
This year, they're free (practically) for me. Simply because I bought them last year on clearance after Valentines Day for 25 cents a box. I bought six boxes, which will be more than plenty, and I'll probably even have some left over for next year.
So my tip this week is to watch those supermarket clearance aisles after February 14. I also recall getting some great deals on valentines candy last year, but of course that's all gone by now.
Also, many of you asked about how to do couponing. Really, the basic rules are 1) use coupons only when the item is on sale and 2) stockpile when something is a great deal so that you don't ever have to buy that item at regular price. The lists available at websites like Grocery Game and Pinching Your Pennies help you match up sale items with coupons, and also tell you where to find the coupons.
If you would like more info and you live in my town, my friend Mandy is having a couponing class sometime in February. I am hoping to go, so you can come as my friend if you don't know Mandy, but since most of you do, just go!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
When I am pregnant I suffer from hyperemesis. I am so ill, that I can barely function enough to get myself to the bathroom every twenty minutes to throw up. And that is about all I can do for about the first six months. The last three months are better, but still I'd say the "morning sickness" is more severe for me in the third trimester than it is for many women in the first trimester. With Bria, there wasn't a lot my doctor did, (and true it wasn't as severe that time), but I had no other children, and I had the luxury of quitting my job and just staying in bed. With Chloe, I first did a steroid treatment and then they finally gave me a PICC line through which I received anti-nausea medication, hydration and nutrition. This PICC line stayed in my arm until 2 weeks before I gave birth. With Sophia, I was hospitalized at 9 weeks since I had already lost 20 pounds at that point and was severely dehydrated. After my week long hospital stay, I was released with a Zofran pump, which I kept until I was about 32 weeks.
With Bria and Chloe I lived near my mom, but even she couldn't give me all the help I needed. With Joel working full time and going to school, he didn't have a lot he could give me either. And this is where I had to learn to rely on others for help. I really hated it, but especially once I had other children to take care of, I knew that I really didn't have a choice.
With Chloe, I had several friends who helped me. My visiting teacher, an adorable Hungarian lady who wouldn't take no for an answer, would stop by my house periodically and say "I have five minutes!" and quickly do the piles of dishes or clean a bathroom. My friend Adrianne called me one day and said "I am taking Bria every Friday morning. You have no choice. I'll be there at 8:00 sharp!" and hung up. Another friend, Marianne, insisted on taking Bria a few mornings a week, and my mom took her the other mornings. This allowed me to guiltlessly stay in bed until noon when Bria was brought back, and I moved to the couch and watched movies with her until Joel came home. There was a Portuguese lady in my ward named Ana who brought me dinner every Tuesday night until Chloe was born. Without fail. And she didn't even mind that sometimes we probably had every dish in her house because it was just too hard to return them quickly.
With Sophia I was far away from my parents or any family, and I still received the same sort of service. The Relief Society arranged a plan for me where one sister was in charge of me each week and provided dinners and childcare. I remember Kim coming over a few times just to get vacuuming and sweeping out of the way for me. My mom even ended up taking Chloe for a few weeks to Utah because I was really struggling to take care of her during the day. Since I had the Zofran pump, I started to feel better earlier on, but people still insisted on helping me and by then I had learned that it was okay. I still needed to rest as much as possible and was grateful for the offers.
I also learned what perhaps was the most important lesson of all about service: By allowing others to serve me I was blessing their lives. Okay, so I wasn't the one blessing them, but because I let them serve me, the Lord blessed them. Conversely, by not letting people serve me, I was actually denying them blessings. I love to serve others. It makes me feel good, and I truly am blessed when I do. It's not easy being on the receiving end, but there does have to be someone to serve, or there would be no service. I think we all have the chance to take our turns being the recipient of service, but do we always take it?
I hope so. I have realized that I am back to my old ways lately. Trying to do it all alone. I forget that people want to help me out when I need it, and while I am not in such dire need as I am while pregnant, sometimes I can still use a hand.
The other lesson I have learned through these experiences is that I want to be more like my friends. Friends who saw an opportunity to do something for someone and took it. They didn't ask me what I needed, because I would have just told them I was fine. They observed what I needed, and then they did it.
I'm working on it.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I figured I'd take this moment to explain my online handle, because people often ask about it. They wonder if it's a Romanian word (no), or some combination of special initials (not exactly), or something I just made up (yes, sort of).
Back when Joel and I were first married the internet was only just a baby. I had a BYU email address, but when I graduated, I didn't continue to use it and I just used Joel's email address he had set up for himself at his place of employment. We didn't even have the internet in our apartment, anyway. We didn't get it until we'd been married about 3 years and we finally bought an old dinosaur of a computer from one of those campus surplus sales. I still continued to use Joel's email as my own, and rarely got online.
Then we moved to Arizona and we had free internet. We still had our old dinosaur of a computer, and it sure was annoying to use it for anything, so I still didn't get on it that often. Then one day I was called as Relief Society President and I quickly found out that email was the way to get things done. Joel agreed we should get a new computer and all was well.
Except, I needed my own email address now. So, I set one up. For some reason I'm still not sure about, Joel is highly against email addresses that have our actual names in them. So that option was out. At first, I wanted my moniker to be a combination of my nickname (Lala) and my favorite opera (La Boheme), but to my astonishment, lalaboheme was already taken. How could somebody else be as clever as I? I tried a few other opera related las and found that lalarondine, lalatraviata, lalagioconda and lalascala were all being used by some lucky soul out there in email-land. I thought that lalaforzadeldestino would probably be a little much and so the only other opera I could think of that began with "la" was Lakme by Leo Delibes. You are probably very familiar with the Flower Duet, (trust me on this) but otherwise, it's not really a well known opera.
So, I typed in lalakme in exasperation and not much hope and voila! It was accepted. I wasn't too thrilled with it at first, but it has proven to be a name that nobody uses on any site ever. So that's nice, because I really wouldn't be very good at remembering a bunch of random numbers if that had to be included.
And that is the story of how I got the name lalakme.
Do you have an interesting internet name? What's your story?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This is Bria, swimming in the kiddie pool at my parents' house in the summer of 2007 (funny that both of these tags had summer pictures taken at my childhood home, but different years). This is really making me hate the snowstorm we just got even more. Can't wait for spring!
I love her freckles.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Anyway, so when I didn't hear from the Vocal Area Head after more than a week of classes had gone by, I began to worry. But then I got a slew of emails from her and I have the biggest load I have ever had at the University. Turns out the mezzo isn't coming to teach after all, and I have lots of students.
Which is both good and bad.
Good, because it more than makes up for the money we lose from Jazz Band. I have so many students this semester, that I am making what I made last semester, plus what Joel made (which was double what I made...are you following?) and then even more on top of that. Truly a blessing. Financially speaking. I knew that the Lord would come through for us, and there you have it.
Bad, because I am a little stressed out at my schedule. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't be working at all, as there is so much to be done at home and I often feel like my children get the short end of the stick. I am teaching lessons every single day of the week this semester, with the exception of Monday and Sunday. And even though I only technically "work" 9 hours a week, having it spread all out like that is somewhat daunting.
But I am thankful to have a career that allows me to only work 9 hours a week and still make almost half of what my husband makes at his full time job. I only hope that people continue taking voice lessons as the economy situation becomes more and more bleak, because I kind of like the cushiness aspect of it. And I don't want to resort to teaching piano lessons. I really don't like teaching piano lessons. I've done it, and I learned that I am a voice teacher 100%.
However, I'm trying to even be thankful for all the stress that it is causing. If nothing else, I need to take the opportunity to learn. For me it's about scheduling my time wisely and getting things done early in the day. That's what I need to learn. Then I won't be stressed.
At least that's the hope.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
However, since I have not taken many pictures of interest this week (other than a newborn photo shoot, which I will link up soon enough), I give you the desecrated figurines.
The one with the rose, named "Love," was given to me by the Bishop when I was released from my calling as Relief Society President. Bria was enthralled with her at the time. She would get a chair and sit and stare at her for what seemed like hours on end. One day she came to me and said, "I figured out what's wrong with Love!" I wasn't really sure what she meant, but she finally got me to understand she was talking about the figurine.
"What's wrong with her?" I asked.
"She doesn't have a face!" Bria exclaimed.
I told her that's how she should be, and (erroneously, obviously) thought that was that. Soon after that conversation, my mom gave me the patriotic one, and before I could blink they were both bestowed with faces.
You'll be happy to know that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser took most of the black off, and only discolored them a little. I can tell, but perhaps those who don't know what happened wouldn't notice. At least I hope that's the case.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
First, the tag. I was tagged by Jill of Twipply Skwood. My favorite part of her blog is when she posts pictures of random (hilarious) signs she finds in random places and of bathrooms from wherever she goes. Also, she never reads books about senators, and that is important to know.
I was also tagged for this same tag by Lara of Lara's Welt. I love Lara, not only because she shares my name, but she also lives in Romania and takes some really great photos. How cool is that?
Even though I've done this tag already thrice (one, two, three), I figured it wouldn't hurt me to do it a fourth time (even though the last time I got this tag, I politely just linked to the other three). There are plenty of random facts about me, but it did take me a few minutes to come up with yet another seven.
1. I really don't like ice in my drinks. I used to, until I lived in Romania, where they don't believe in putting ice in your drinks because you will catch your death of cold. I have prefered my drinks a little more on the room temperature side ever since, and I actually kind of do buy into the Romanian propaganda that I will get sick if I put ice in it.
2. People think my eyes are brown, but they aren't. They are hazel, and often (like after I've been crying), they are actually bright green.
3. Most of the furniture in my house is black, and I have plans to paint even more of it black. It's a disease.
4. I need a haircut, because if I don't get one I will be living in pony-tail land very soon here.
5. I really dislike January. It's too cold and too dark and too depressing. It's very hard to get out of bed in the morning in January. February is much better. It's still a bit dreary, but something about Valentine's Day makes it bearable.
6. I, avid reader that I am, haven't read a book in nearly 4 months. This is very strange. I need to get myself to the library.
7. At age 34, I have only found 3 gray hairs on my head thus far. Here's hoping that I don't find too many more before I'm 50. I loathe the thought of ever having to dye my hair. Just too expensive, and I don't even want to think about the maintenance that goes into such things.
Okay, now that that is out of the way, let's talk about awards.
I got this award from Rachel C. at Idaho Cheneys:
Along with it, I must list five of my fabulous addictions (are addictions fabulous?):
4. Singing/Opera/Other musical stuff
5. Three adorable little girls
And now I must pass it along to 5 other fabulous bloggers. I have chosen to pass all my awards today only to bloggers I know in real life. Hope all you fabulous online blog friends are cool with that.
1. Anne-Marie of Coconut Diaries. She also happens to be my fabulous sister-in-law, but I think she keeps an amazing (and fabulous) blog, and you should check it out. Post more, Anne! I love your blog!
2. Hilary of Pulling Curls. Hilary is fabulous indeed, and I rarely go a day without talking to her. Not only is she a fabulous friend, her blog is fabulous and witty and insightful and more people should read it.
3. Sharla of My Little Gems. I have actually known Sharla for as long as I can remember. Her little brother and I were almost born on the same day (I was born at 1 in the morning, so he's officially a day older than me) and our mothers even shared a hospital room. Sharla and I were Thespians together in High School. Her blog is fabulous because she has such fab ideas about decorating and crafty things in general.
4. Brooke of The Mortensen Family. Brooke and I used to scrapbook together when I lived down in Arizona. She has since moved to Texas and become super fabulous at photography in the last year. I love to see her fabulous posts.
5. Mary of Weighty Matters (more or less). We were fabulous vocal majors together at fabulous BYU. She also has turned to the fabulous addiction of photography, and takes fabulous pictures that I love to look at.
And now that I have completely overused the word fabulous, let us go on, shall we?
Erin at If You Give A Mom A Moment bestowed this award on me:
Along with it, I must list 5 things that I love:
1. My family (although technically, they are people, not things)
2. Candy Corn (alas I cannot eat it ever again)
3. My skinny jeans (still not ready for public consumption...almost)
4. Cheese (especially of the Swiss variety)
5. Shopping with my mom (it's fun!)
And tell you about 5 blogs that I love
1. Kim of Everyday Stuff & Nonsense. She is a friend from Arizona and I love her blog because she updates often and it's always fun to read. Family adventures, gorgeous projects she makes and inspiring quotes.
2. Mariley of The Story of Us. Another Arizona friend who happens to be Kim's sister! She is also a fun read, and you guessed it: I love her blog.
3. Rae of Creative Catharsis. She was in Young Women with me here in Cedar City, and then she just had to up and move down to St. George. For rude. I almost boycotted her blog for that, but I love it too much, so I just couldn't. Besides, I'm having lunch with her today, and I can't wait!
4. Audrey of Pete and Re-Pete. She took over for me as RS President down in Arizona. I love her blog because she is a talented writer with lots of insight. Just wish she'd update more often than twice a month. Are you reading this, Audrey?
5. Annie of Jardin Martin. I've known Annie forever (like since elementary school) and I miss miss miss her. I get so excited whenever she updates her blog about her life as a school teacher, her adorable dog and her interesting thoughts on life. One of her latest posts was a very thought provoking one about how her New Year's Resolutions were actually inspired by her dog. Loved it, and love her.
Okay, okay, just one more. I really shouldn't procrastinate these award thingies, but the fact is, I do, so here's the last one.
Carrie at The Story of My World gave me this lovely award:
Rest assured, I do not have to list 5 lovely things in my world, but I do have to pass it on to 5 lovely bloggers:
1. Rachel of Home Grown Notion. Rachel is Joel's cousin, and she takes lovely pictures. She has also been posting a food storage tip every week, so that by the end of the year you can have a full year's supply.
2. Michelle of Confessions of a Blogaholic. Michelle is married to Rachel's brother, so she is Joel's cousin-in-law. Mine too, I suppose, as is Rachel. Anyway, Michelle runs her own business making lovely bows for little girls' hair.
3. Lacey of The Yarns. Lacey is another scrapbooking buddy from Arizona. She takes some very lovely pictures of her two lovely girls and is just a lovely person all around. And speaking of lovely bows, she makes them too, but I don't think she sells them. Too bad.
4. Maddy of Spoiled Rotten. Maddy was in my ward when Joel and I were first married. All hail Union Square! If there was an award for most fun person on the planet, she'd get it, but she is also lovely. As is her blog about her adventures with her lovely family.
5. Marianne of A Light in the Darkness. Marianne was in my ward when I was pregnant with Chloe and practically dying. She became Bria's second mother during that time and I'll never forget that service. Someday I'll have to write about it. Her blog is lovely in a way that is perhaps unorthodox, as she writes about her struggles with post-partum depression. Even if you don't have depression, it's a very inspiring read, simply because her insights can help you cope with any trial. They certainly have helped me.
I have many other real life friend bloggers, and I plan to showcase all of you eventually. So don't cry! I love you all...you're all fabulous and lovely....please update more often.
Phewsh. That's all for today, folks.
And now I will go take a nap.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Some of my fondest memories of my grandma include watching her put her bright pink lipstick on after eating. You'll never catch my mom without it, or her sister. My female cousins are pretty into the lipstick, too. And then there's my own daughters, always wanting to wear it before they even turn a year old. Yeah. We are lipstick people.
Being a lipstick addict, you can't help but notice the difference between the stuff you can buy at the grocery store and the good stuff. I kind of prefer the good stuff. Okay, true confessions: I will only wear the good stuff unless it's Halloween and I need a strange color of lipstick to be Elphaba.
Problem. The good stuff is expensive. So very expensive that it can run as much as 50 dollars a tube. I may be a lipstick snob, but I am also a cheapskate. So, my solution is to buy the good stuff on eBay. I know! It's absolutely amazing the prices I have found there for my favorite lip color. Of course, I am lucky that my personal fave, the one I wear daily, was once featured in one of Estee Lauder's free gifts, and that helps me get it for even cheaper. I've been known to get three tubes for 10 dollars before. Usually I spend around 6 dollars a tube, just about what I'd spend at the grocery store for the cheap stuff. So it all works out in the end.
A lot of these make-up sellers on eBay offer their merchandise in lots, so I try to buy it that way as much as possible to save on shipping. Three tubes will last me about 6 months.
So, if you don't have the moolah to spend at the department store cosmetics counters, (or, if you're like me, and you don't even have a cosmetics counter in town) try eBay!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
One of my favorite things about blogging is all of the wonderful women I've met through their blogs. I love looking into their lives and seeing the things that they do because they teach me so much. I love learning from them. It's wonderful.
One of my least favorite things about blogging is all of the wonderful women I've met through their blogs. I hate looking into their lives and seeing all the things that they do because I start to get jealous. I hate it when I compare myself to them. It's not very wonderful.
I suppose this is just how we women are, and blogging just makes it a little more obvious because we can see into the lives and homes of so many other women than we do in our real lives. I've been thinking about it, though, and I've made some realizations.
The things I'm jealous of are usually things like how fashionable someone is. Or how amazingly her home is decorated. You know, that adorable haircut she got and posted a picture of. The awesome pink skirt she bought somewhere. The great rug you noticed in that picture of them opening gifts in her (fabulous) living room at Christmas. The gorgeous dishes she has. On which she serves gourmet meals that you could never (and let's be honest, would never) make yourself.
Then I get jealous of their abilities. She's a great writer. She's a great cook. She's a better photographer than I am. She's such a calm mother. Just look how hilarious she is! And so on and so forth.
But here it is. I am great, too. And guess what? I don't wear pink skirts, no matter how cute they are. They're just not me. That haircut she posted? Well, it would look horrible with my face, and plus, I have too much hair and it would never work. That rug really isn't my style either, great as it is. It's too bright, and come to think of it, my living room is all black and dark red. The dishes, I'd still like to have, but I have some great dishes, too. So there. I also have abilities of my own. I don't need to put myself down because someone else can do something better than I can. Life isn't a competition! I just need to do my own personal best, and keep learning how to do better.
Most of the time, I remember that. But, it's easy to forget with all of you amazing women writing blogs out there.
Keep writing them though, and I will choose to learn from you rather than sit around wishing I could just be you. I will be true to me and be happy with that.
Because I rather like to blog. (Perhaps you've noticed?)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
There was the time when Bria was really interested in the contents of my jewelry box. One day, unbeknownst to me, she took every ring that was in there and squirreled them away in her underwear drawer for her very own. She decided to wear what she thought was the prettiest one to go swimming. While we were swimming, I noticed it on her finger (how it didn't fall off and sink to the bottom of the pool undetected I'll never know!), and freaked out a little bit. It was my mother's original wedding ring, which she had had reset with a ruby for me when she got a new setting for her diamond. Probably the most special ring I own with the exception of my own wedding ring.
Then there's the time that Chloe cut Sophia's hair, just when it had started to grow out enough to wear anything but headbands in it.
Oh, and the time Bria drew cartoon faces on my Willow Tree figurines with a permanent marker, because it spooked her that they are faceless. I was pregnant at the time, so that really incurred the wrath of the beast that lies dormant within me.
Recently, Chloe has taken to drawing her masterpieces exactly where she shouldn't. Like, on her dresser drawers, for instance. When she was 2, I could be a bit more patient with this, but she is 5 now and I find it utterly unacceptable. I also found the words "I love my DaD" inscribed on her bedroom door the other day. Perhaps I wouldn't have been quite so angry if it had said "I love my MoM" instead, but alas, it wasn't to be.
I have plenty of stories, many of which can be found on this blog, but I'll just give you the most recent little surprise I found. Last week, after I had washed my hair, I picked up my brush and began to brush my tresses. It seemed like it wasn't working very well, so I looked at the brush more carefully and found that toothpaste (of the kid variety) was smeared all over the bristles. Well that's just great. I had no time to wash my hair again right then, and so I did my best to pull it up into a ponytail (which it is just barely long enough to do at this point). If nothing else, toothpaste makes a pretty good hair gel. And I smelled like bubblegum. Gotta look at the positives, right? Especially since once I did wash my hair, I found that toothpaste is not nearly as easy to wash out as gels made specifically for hair styling.
I suppose it all helps me learn patience, which is something I generally struggle with. A lot. I also suppose that it gives me plenty of chances to teach my children about what is acceptable and what is not, about how to clean up after their messes and about how to respect others' property. In the end, these experiences teach all of us something. And even if the kids don't actually learn anything despite my efforts, at least I learn to be a better mother.
Besides, if I'm going to freak out over toothpaste on my hairbrush now, how on earth will I react to something a little more serious? Like wrecking the car, for instance.
Yeah, I need to calm down while I still have the chance.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I decided to catch some photos of the nightly event, and you'll see that he didn't even notice my existence. Even when I flashed him, he didn't so much as blink. (Get your minds out of the gutter! I didn't flash him like that, I meant with my camera. Although, if I really did flash him, I'm quite certain he wouldn't have noticed that, either.)
Meet the maestro and his imaginary orchestra (he is currently conducting "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" which you might know from Mickey Mouse):
Sorry they're totally blown out. That's what happens when you have to use the stupid onboard flash, especially when there are white shirts involved. Someday I'll get a nice one. Anyway, what matters is that I captured this moment. Even though it will probably happen every night for the rest of my life. Since I live with an orchestra conductor and all.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Chloe: Hey, this says "fat free" on it! That means that this yogurt doesn't have any fat in it!
Bria: No, it just means that you're free to be fat.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Other things we take seriously?
Princess dresses, bed head, cinnamon toast for breakfast (check for crumbs around her mouth), and adorable little girls.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I mentioned this shelf project the other day. Basically, the shelf is falling apart, kind of. I really should get rid of it and get another, but I don't have the money right this minute. So, I nailed it back together in a few spots and then glued Christmas wrapping paper in the back to spice it up a little bit. I might have chosen other wrapping paper, but this is the only pattern I had that wasn't overtly Christmas themed or gold, but still kind of cute.
This is hanging in the girls' bathroom. I bought a cheap picture frame from WalMart, used ribbon, fabric and buttons from my stash and came up with this to hold all the bows they have (which is not that many, considering I do have three female children). It matches the bathroom quite well and I don't feel like the bows are getting ruined in the other thing I use to store all the additional 20 million hair accessories we have. My friend Rae gave me the idea to do this, from a project she showed off on her blog eons ago. It's been percolating in my brain since then.
I've been wanting to do this for a while. My Sister-in-law, Anne-Marie has something similar by her front door, plus I've seen the basic idea in several other places. So, I bought a 4 dollar curtain rod at WalMart (hey, it's the only store I have, don't judge), used my ribbon stash and mostly frames I already had. I've put some of my favorite fun pictures of the girls in three of the frames and have ordered our Christmas family picture and another picture of the girls for the remaining two.
This is the most exciting to me. I got the hooks off of eBay (my brother gave us an eBay gift card for Christmas), and put them up the other day. I cannot stand how my children get home from school and immediately throw coats and backpacks all over the floor. This has been a nice solution. Our house isn't big, and its one tragic flaw is a complete lack of storage. I have one storage closet, and it is so tiny you can barely fit Joel's winter coat in there. Also, please excuse my filthy baseboards. As soon as I uploaded the picture, I went over there to see if they really are that dirty, and while the picture seems to magnify the problem times ten, they certainly weren't clean. Rest assured that they are now.
Friday, January 16, 2009
After a few months of doing it with the help of the website, I figured I knew the rules well enough to go it alone. So, I started going to pinchingyourpennies.com instead for the lists, and it's been wonderful.
I admit, I slacked off a lot around the holidays. Couponing was just one more thing to have to deal with, and so I just didn't. But I'm back on the wagon.
Here's my haul from Albertson's the other day:
Had to do it in three orders, so here's what I did (you can stop reading now if this kind of stuff bores you to tears. I won't mind. But I won't apologize for the fact that finding a great deal at the grocery store makes me positively giddy these days!):
15 cans of Progresso Soup, on sale for $2.00 each. (I realize that's not the best price on this soup, but wait...)
Albertson's had two coupons in their ad and you could double up to three manufacturer's coupons with each one. I had 5 coupons for Progresso soup, and I doubled one for 50 cents and two for a dollar each and saved the other doubling coupon for my next order.
Total (with tax): $24.82
Total saved: $28.35
PLUS, the register spit out coupons for $15.00 of my next shopping order.
3 boxes Betty Crocker instant potatoes (great for food storage, even though we don't eat them much), on sale for 3/$5.00.
2 boxes Cheerios on sale for $2.00 each.
5 boxes Golden Grahams on sale for $2.00 each.
3 boxes fruit snacks on sale for $2.00 each.
2 bottles Dawn dish soap on sale for $2.50 each
I doubled three coupons that were a dollar off, plus had five more for the various items.
I used the $15.00 coupons I received just before.
Total (with tax): $8.36
Total saved: $45.85
Register spit out $15.00 more in savings.
20 Yoplait yogurts on sale for 50 cents each, with a special promotion at 40 cents each if you buy 20.
3.5 lb Roast, on sale for $1.99 per pound.
2 lb block of Montery Jack cheese on sale for $4.99 with in ad coupon.
2 lb block of Cheddar cheese, same deal.
2 5 lb bags of potatoes, on sale for $1.25 each with in ad coupon.
I had several coupons for the Yoplait.
I used my $15.00 coupons again.
Total (with tax): $12.57
Total saved: $44.73
So, I got all that food for a total of, well, um...excuse me while I quickly get my calculator up, I am no math genius....
A total of $45.75.
Total savings of $118.93.
And I am not even as good at this as many people out there who basically get everything for free.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I've been fighting some crappy virus or something for the past several weeks, and it only seems to be getting worse in the last few days. And now everyone in the household has it.
So, yesterday I kept the girls home from school, hoping they can nip it in the bud more quickly than I have been able to.
They watched movies, ate chicken noodle soup and mostly stayed still.
Hopefully they're going to school today, though.
About my weight loss. I did it using the hCG protocol, under the supervision of a doctor and a nutritionist. Here is the website for the place I went (Dry Creek located in Lehi, Utah), but they have sold the diet to several other places around the country. If you are interested, you can contact them and find out if there is anywhere near your area.
Both my mom and I went on the diet and have been very successful. Even though it involves pregnancy hormone, men can do it, too. In fact, that is how we found out about it in the first place: A male family friend who had lost 60 pounds or so on it.
With my PCOS and thyroid issues combined, it is almost impossible to lose weight. I have spent a lot of money on programs like Weight Watchers and LA Weightloss with very little success. And then I just gain the few pounds I do lose back when I get discouraged with the diet that isn't working anyway. This diet has been amazingly different. I have lost weight quickly and steadily, the keeping it off is also supposed to be easier, but I'm not to that stage yet.
That said, this diet is not cheap. It's pretty expensive, but they do offer incentives, like if you get friends to go on it, you get $50.00 credit for each one that does it. So, if you do decide this is for you and you can afford it (I felt like with my health issues I really couldn't afford not to do it), make sure to use my name as a referral so I can get some credit! :) If you have other questions, email me.
One more thing: My friend and neighbor, Kristy, is having a Mary Kay giveaway on her blog. Go here to enter it. Looks like some good stuff, you'll be missing out if you don't hop over there!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
•Can zip up her skinny jeans and even sit down in them, although they may still be a little tight for public consumption?
•Is officially two sizes smaller than she was in October?
•Feels healthier than she has in a long time?
•Is seeing her PCOS symptoms lessen?
•Could have done even better if she hadn't done this over the holidays (where she gained 7 pounds back of the 25 she had lost up to that point)?
Did you guess?
Did you guess me?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
So when I had Sophia, my mom came down to Mesa to be with me and the girls since Joel was already here in Cedar starting his new job. Since I spent so much time sitting around nursing and all my books were packed up and it's hard to surf the internet while feeding a newborn, my mom decided to rent Season 1 of 24 for me so I had something to do. I watched it in the middle of the day and the middle of the night and sometimes I just held her while she was sleeping so I could finish an episode.
I was hooked. In the 2 weeks that we were down there without Joel we watched Seasons 1-4, and then I made Joel rent them all again once I moved up here. Then he was hooked. We were junkies. When the new season started we watched it every Monday night at his brother's house. It was horrible for the kids and their schedules, but I did mention we were addicted, right?
And then FOX took it away because of the silly writer's strike. Seriously, I couldn't have cared less if the Hollywood writers went on strike (struck?) before I knew about 24, but I was all kinds of upset about not getting my weekly Jack Bauer fix. However, the withdrawal symptoms slowly started to fade, and I almost forgot about it.
Until they had the special pre-season thing in November and it was awesome.
And then I was just waiting on pins and needles for Sunday night. And last night. This season is already amazing.
All I have to say is, Jack Bauer is back. Don't call me on Monday nights.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Mostly, I loved my schedule. I devised it to simulate what it might be like in a Performing Arts High School since I used to always watch "Fame!" and wish that I could attend a high school like that. Besides, I had finished up my math requirements (bane of my existence) and I had the room to do pretty much whatever I wanted.
Except, I had to take history. Not that I wasn't a history fan, because I always enjoyed it well enough and I was excited to take the AP test and get college credit and everything. But I didn't take into account The History Teacher. I could write a post every day for a year about this guy, but I will spare you all the misery and only tell you the good parts.
A little background on him first: He was middle-aged, single (not sure if he was ever married), assistant football coach, extremely intelligent, rather condescending, always dressed to the nines, and a male chauvinist extraordinaire.
Oh, and he hated the arts. Perhaps hated isn't quite a strong enough word, though. He loathed, detested and abhorred the arts and I still don't think that quite covers it. As I remember it, he took issue with me because I had art right before his class and I usually walked in with my gigantic sketch pad that wouldn't fit into my locker. Then he found out I was in the school musical. Then he looked at my class schedule and snorted.
And he picked on me. Oh how he picked on me! He made condescending remarks about my femininity and artsiness in front of the entire class on a daily basis. I couldn't ask or answer a question without a raised eyebrow and a patronizing aside. If I had to check out of class due to a performance of any kind he always had to throw in some sort of snide comment about how I was academically suffering due to my ridiculous affection for the arts. I commonly went home and complained about it to my mother, but all she ever did was tell me I needed to be a better student in his class and it would all go away.
One day, I couldn't take it anymore. I came home and had a nervous breakdown to my mom and told her I wasn't taking the stupid AP US History test anymore because I couldn't subject myself to that class and his horrible attitude of superiority for one more minute. Lucky for me, it just so happened to be Parent Teacher Conference that night, and my mother went to find out The History Teacher's side of things.
As soon as she sat down in front of The History Teacher and told him whose mother she was, he said to her (in that wonderfully snobby way of his), "Oh! The Thespian."
Then he launched into a diatribe of what an awful student I was because I spent all my spare time in rehearsals instead of studying history books. I was never prepared enough for class lectures (probably because I was off singing somewhere). Oh, and I doodled too much on my class notes while he was lecturing.
My mother then asked him what grade I was getting in his class. It was an A-. So, she launched into a diatribe of her own about how he wasn't being a very fair teacher and he was singling me out with absolutely no reason except that he didn't like my choices in class scheduling. She came home from the conference confident that all would now be well in my history class, and I could continue to go without persecution from The History Teacher.
Sure enough, all was well. Sort of. He indeed stopped singling me out after that. Except, he really still was singling me out because he just started to treat me like a ghost instead. If he could not speak down to me, he chose to just plain not speak to me at all. He ignored me when I raised my hand. When he would go up and down the rows having us each read a paragraph or something, he would always conveniently stop to say something just before my turn and then call on the person after me.
I don't really know if anyone in the class actually noticed my promotion from Favorite Female Person To Pick On In Class to Favorite Female Person To Ignore Completely, but I have to say it bothered me. Anyway, if the class didn't notice it at first, they most certainly noticed it after The Lecture.
The History Teacher rather enjoyed lecturing, always expecting that we would come to class prepared for his lectures by reading the assigned chapters. He often checked our preparedness level by just stopping mid-sentence and expecting someone to fill in the blank. If nobody seemed to know the right answer, he would begin to spell it until someone could finally figure it out.
So, on this particular day after my so called promotion, he was lecturing us about some topic I don't remember now, except that it had something to do with someone named McCarthy. And he stopped and wanted someone to fill in the blank. The word he was looking for was "raids." Nobody said it. He waited. The silence grew more and more deafening. So I said it.
He did not respond, so I said it again, because I had done my reading and I was certain I was correct. Still no answer from The History Teacher. I immediately realized that he couldn't bring himself to acknowledge me and my raids, so naturally, I said it again. I sang it several times. I was practically dancing on my desk in a theatrical fashion that was most likely excruciating for him. He continued to ignore me and began to spell. "R......" "R. A....." "R. A. I....." "Come on class, I can't believe you don't know this!"
Of course the class was totally confused and had no idea what to think by this point. I was still over in my corner chanting "Raids. Raids. Raids!!!" and though The History Teacher seemed to be spelling that, it must not be right because Lara is acting like a crazy person saying it a hundred times. But...if I wasn't right, then what could it be? Railroads? Rain? Raisins? Really, "raids" was the only logical answer.
"R. A. I. D...." spelled the History Teacher in exasperation.
Finally, a boy squeaked out the word "raids" ever so softly. But The History Teacher heard it and said, "Finally! I was beginning to think you were all stupid!" (Yes, he really said that.)
And then the bell rang and around 25 students left class wondering what in the world just happened at The Lecture. One student left knowing exactly what had happened and muttering under her breath about the jerk of a teacher she had.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I didn't pass the AP US History test. Because, after that kind of treatment, I refused to take it. I suffered through American Heritage in college instead.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Sophia. Fast asleep on the couch after an exhausting day of knocking down Christmas trees and smearing peanut butter in her hair. She got a bath to clean up the PB&J and then promptly went to dreamland, much to her mother's delight.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The other day I took Bria to her group violin class and I was bored out of my mind waiting for her. The groupl lessons are on the University campus, and normally I try to schedule my own lessons at the same time, but I haven't received my load yet, so I have no lessons to teach.
Anyway, back to my boredom. I wish I had thought enough ahead to actually bring a book to read, but I was stuck with my cell phone and the contents of my purse. After I thought of a few phone calls I needed to make and finished those I resorted to cleaning out my purse and wallet.
My wallet has had a difficult time closing lately. Turns out that it was because it was full of receipts. Of course, after the Christmas shopping season it's bound to happen, but some of the receipts I found were over 2 years old and I've only actually had that wallet since last Christmas (2007)! Sad commentary on my wallet cleaning out abilities, since evidently I just transferred the entire contents of my old wallet to the new wallet without even bothering to see what it all was.
But it doesn't matter anymore. My wallet is all skinny and organized now. I got rid of receipts, old dentist/doctor appt. cards, business cards I will never need and expired coupons.
Most disappointing find: A summer pass to Jiffy Lube which meant $7.00 off every oil change from May-December 31, 2008. I never knew I had it and have paid full price every time.
Most exciting find: An entire book of Forever stamps. Doesn't quite make up for the Jiffy Lube oops, but it's exciting nonetheless.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Chloe: It's really rude to put Christmas lights on other people's houses, huh Mom.
Me: Yes, I suppose it would be. Have you seen someone do that?
Chloe: No, I just figured it out all by myself that it would be rude.
While playing tennis by herself on the Wii.
Chloe: The strangers are winning, Mom!
Joel: (snickering) She calls them strangers.
Chloe: Well, we don't know their names, so they're strangers! And they're winning!
While trying to write the word "candy," but having spelled it "canddy"
Chloe: Mom? Does this say candy?
Me: Yes, it does. Good job! (This is what her teacher is making us do right now...if it resembles the word pretty well, we can't tell them the right way. To increase confidence in writing or something...)
Chloe: Mom! Tell the truth, does it really?
Me: Yes, it really does.
Chloe: But I'm really worried about the 2 d's. I'm not sure if those are supposed to be two. It's really worrying me.
Me: Okay, you're right. There's only one d. (Yes, I caved. How can you not when your child is so worried about it? Of course, I probably made her writing confidence plummet.)
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Sophie got a Disney Princess Baby Doll. She loves her, but mostly she insists that she stay asleep all the time. She is a good mommy though, and makes certain that we are very quiet because the "baby seeping."
Chloe received the scooter that she so desperately wanted. Too bad she can't really ride it anywhere but the kitchen until all the snow melts. Maybe soon.
Bria's Santa gift was an EZ Bake Oven. She was thrilled, as she's wanted it for a really long time now. The Hannah Montana guitar was from Joel and me. I can't decide if she liked it better, or the EZ Bake. Time will tell.
Some new clothes from Mom and Dad. (From the Children's Place, of course). I am not sure what Sophie is doing with her eye there, but she's still pretty cute.
Monday of this week we finally got the EZ Bake set up and ready to cook something! Bria chose to make doughnuts. I think they turned out pretty good, and apparently, they tasted great as well. I didn't try any myself, but I take the girls' word for it.
Oh yes, the premier gift from my parents. A Nintendo Wii! So exciting! I knew about it, but Joel didn't. He was like a little boy opening it up. Since we went on our vacation the day after Christmas, we only just got around to setting it up (and I'm going to have to do some major moving and shaking there to make it work aesthetically--I hate cords everywhere!) and the girls are addicted. Even Sophia manages to roll strikes in the bowling game.
He's right. Change is hard. However, change can be very good if we can only make ourselves do it.
This new year I've gone whole hog on the change. I figure if Obama's going to be the president, perhaps I'd better jump on the bandwagon, right? It took me a while to convince my dear husband, but I think I've got him on board with me at this point.
The biggest change is that we are now getting up at 6:30 am every single day. Every. Single. Day. Except maybe Saturday, but at least I will be getting up that early due to my voice lesson schedule in St. George, so as far as I'm concerned it is every single day. Every. Single. Day.
Some of you know me from the mission, or maybe you were my roommate in college. Or you are my mother. If you are one of those people then you absolutely understand why this is such a big deal. Huge deal. GIGANTIC DEAL!
I am not a morning person. I am a night owl, as they say. This is the way I came, and nobody can tell me that there's a way to change my particular circadian rhythm. I've tried. Plus, I've been given a child who is just like me. No matter what time I drag her out of bed in the morning, she is up much later than her sisters. She generally looks at all the books in her room, often plays with toys and comes out to tell me "important things" about every five minutes until 11:30 pm. She gets her energy at night, and believe me, it is not there in the morning. And it isn't for me, either.
On my mission I dutifully awoke most mornings at 6:30 am, just as the white handbook said I should. I won't say I did it cheerfully or even whole-heartedly, because I did it rather grumpily. I had to convince most of my companions that it would be best if we started out with companionship study right off the bat, because if I were left to my own devices, I would probably just fall back to sleep, as the scriptures are not best read alone when one is only half awake.
Joel, on the other hand, really is a morning person, but he is a morning person with a bizarre schedule. He has to be to work at like 6:00 in the morning one day, and not till nearly 10:00 am the next. On those ten o'clock days, he often caught up on his sleep, so we all just stayed in bed. Of course, when he got up at the crack of dawn we all just stayed in bed then, too.
Consequently, my mornings so far this school year have been ineffective to say the least. Lots of running around, yelling for shoes to be put on, hurrying the prayer process and giving up on making lunches and just sending lunch money. As soon as Bria was out the door, I would sink in to my comfortable chair in front of the computer to check blogs and email and before I knew it, it was nearly 11:00 and Chloe wasn't even out of bed yet (I suppose I just outed my night owl child)! My afternoons would then be rushed by default, and I wouldn't accomplish most of the things I set out to do, and the vicious cycle just continued until some days I wasn't getting much of anything done.
So now, Joel is helping me to wake up by 6:30 (the first morning he text messaged me 3 times, and I nearly blinded myself trying to look at them), we read our scriptures together and then get the girls up at 7:00. I don't like it, but I do it. I admit, I'm terribly grumpy, but the grump wears off by about 7:30, so I think it's worth it. Besides, it was all my idea, so I can't exactly be angry with my husband for helping me change an entire lifestyle.
Grumpiness aside, the whole thing is wonderful. You wouldn't believe how much I get done before 9:00 am! Bria practices her violin, with my help, for an entire half hour! We eat a healthy breakfast! We calmly get ready for school! Teeth actually get brushed because I am awake to make sure it happens! Lunches are made! Money is saved! The house is cleaner (not counting the folding of laundry)! The kids are more obedient! Chloe only stays up until around 10:30 now! Life is wonderful!
And I have more time to focus on organizing my home and my mind. It's a win-win. I just hope that I can keep the momentum, because this is the way I want to live. That other way was no fun at all.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Apparently, I don't mind dying with my laundry unfolded. I left a couple loads to be folded before we left on our vacation last week, and since we've been home, I've done everything but fold them. In fact, I've added around 6 more loads to the pile.
I had every intention of getting to it today, but instead I
• Went through a few closets, getting stuff ready to take to DI (our local thrift store)
• Read books to Sophia for an hour
• Cleaned out a junk drawer
• Cleaned out the catchall music basket by the piano
• Finished taking all the Christmas decorations down
• Organized the couponing stuff (still more to be done)
• Decided that the bookshelf holding music by the piano was driving me nuts
• Decided that the bookshelf holding my scrapbook supplies in Sophie's room was much sturdier and prettier than the one by the piano
• Took 2 hours unloading each shelf, switching them, and then reloading the music shelf
• Decided that the other shelf really needed some TLC and glued wrapping paper into the back to spice it up
• Re-organized the scrapbook crap
• Found two tubs of preschool/craft supplies and threw away most of it, organized the rest
At least I'm getting organized, even though tomorrow I may just die because I'll be suffocated by my mountain of clean laundry.
It's all about priorities.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Memorable moments in 2008 month by month.
Sophia turns 18 months and finally gets to go to nursery! It is a day for celebration throughout the land (and a photo shoot).
I go down to adjudicate a music festival in St. George, not realizing that I was putting my life on the line and nearly dying on the drive home.
We wire our entire life savings (not much at all) to Spain so Joel can compete in a conducting competition.
Entered the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Hall of Fame for the third (and final) time. Did not win.
Entered the Five Minutes for Mom 1,000 dollar photo contest, and actually won, thus sort of making up for the life savings being depleted so Joel could conduct Pierrot Lunaire in Europe.
Celebrated 9 years of marriage. It's an accomplishment worth mentioning.
Called 911 and tattle-taled on the person who left their kids in the car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Cried like a baby after dropping Chloe off at her first day of Kindergarten.
Had a hankering for some "What's Up, Doc?" but couldn't find it at Hollywood video. Instead, it miraculously came on my television that very night. Miracles really do happen.
Temporaraily lost my mind and sewed Wizard of Oz Halloween costumes for the entire family. I had so much fun being insane that I'm thinking of doing it every year.
Cried like a baby after seeing my oldest child baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Realized that I am extremely blessed, even though this was an extremely difficult year for me.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I have ADD and I struggle with organization. That's really my New Year's Resolution practically every year. I feel like as I have gotten older (and perhaps wiser) that I have really made some good steps forward in this category. I have felt like it wasn't such a huge battle anymore and that my house was at least somewhat orderly if I kept on top of things.
And then 2008 happened.
It was the year that I was supposed to simplify my life. In some ways I really did. I got rid of a lot of clutter. I streamlined my schedule as much as I possibly could. I stopped using credit cards and began to really work to pay down our debt from Joel's advanced degrees.
Yet, in other ways, 2008 has been more chaotic than almost any other year I can remember in my life. Sometimes I felt it was all I could do to keep my head above water, much less try to take care of three daughters and a husband. The last four months especially have been rather trying for me in the organization/simplification department.
So, the scripture I chose is Doctrine & Covenants 88: 119 (also found in 109:8):
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
I like that it not only highlights my organization troubles, but it also encourages other areas of my life that definitely need work. Preparedness is something I really want to get in order this year. I have done fairly well on food storage lately, but I want to truly have a year's supply at the end of 2009. My prayers could definitely use more fervor and sincerity. I can fast with more dedication and purpose. I always need to have more hope and faith in my circumstances. I'd like to study more as far as my career goes, and of course the gospel. I want to feel glorious (who doesn't?). Then there's that order thing that I so struggle with. Finally, I really want my home to be one where the Lord's Spirit can truly dwell.
I have decided to focus on one aspect at a time, and perhaps go back to the ones that I need to work on the most (organization).
We'll see how it all works out, but hopefully at the end of it all, my house (and life) will be in order.